I went to the Ex's graduation ceremony yesterday. She received her Master's from USF, with honors. I was happy to have been there, and am very proud of her, but have also told her that we must stop pretending to be a family, that she should stop expecting me to be the man in her life as she is not the woman in mine.
We do many things together, as if we were functioning as a family, but we're not. The option has been left open for either of us to owe nothing to one another at any time the whim takes either of us. It only invites future pain for one or both. The prolonging of whatever little pain we can still extract from one another, to remind ourselves that we still can cause feelings.
Having an ex-wife around has the effect of scaring away any potential love interests, at least the ones that don't thrive on romantic challenge. Everybody is universally impressed at how well she and I have conducted our post marriage life. I almost finished that last sentence with the word "together," but that is the problem, or dilemma: we're not together. We have no plans to change any of that. It has the effect of being in a loveless marriage, which in a sense it is. We do everything together except love one another. Our son's conception of adult love will be one nearly without affection.
Having an ex-wife around in which there is still intimacy and proximity but no physical affection is not entirely dissimilar from having a deeply involved relationship with your mom. It leaves less, or very little, space for another woman to enter your life. Who would want to compete with an ex-wife for space in a man's life. There are those women I suppose. The ones that thrive on… romantic challenge.
Another woman. That's an odd and funny phrase to describe a woman, even with the above circumstances considered. She wouldn't be another woman, she would just be a woman.
I'll make sure to tell her that when the time comes.